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Transit lane confusion

Almost 90% of motorists are at risk of copping a fine for not understanding the rules of the transit lane.

Research by Budget Direct has found 44 per cent of Australian motorists support transit lanes and want more, compared with 27 per cent of Melbourne drivers and 33 per cent of Sydney motorists who believe they are a waste of time.

However, an RTA report shows a 17 per cent reduction in the length of transit lanes between 2008-09 and 2010-2011 due to lane conversion and upgrades in Sydney.

"This would indicate that transit lanes are not a high priority for the RTA, despite the indicated need identified by survey respondents and Sydney's ongoing crippling traffic congestion," said Budget Direct spokeswoman Richelle Ward.

Motorists also show a general ignorance of transit lane rules with 93 per cent of Melbourne motorists and 84 per cent of Sydney drivers not knowing what distance they are allowed to drive in a transit lane before making a turn. Motorists are also confused about who can travel in a transit lane in both cities.

"(We are) concerned that drivers' lack of knowledge surrounding transit lanes could result in unnecessary fines and an increase in road incidents," Ward said.

Motorists can travel in a transit lane for up to 100m to enter or exit a roadway, make a turn, or avoid an obstruction.

Vehicles must have the specified minimum number of people or the driver will cop a $201 fine in Sydney, or $199 in Melbourne.

Ward said a large percentage of motorists claimed to never travel illegally in a transit lane, but she questioned that claim due to respondents' poor understanding of the rules.

She called for public education on transit lane use to eliminate confusion and reduce the risk of drivers copping heavy fines.


Transit lanes: the basics

*T2 lanes - motorbikes, bicycles, public transport and vehicles with two or more people

*T3 lanes - motorbikes, bicycles, public transport and vehicles with three or more people